Remembering among the forgetful
Remembering among the forgetful
Nineteen photographs are on display around the baptismal font at the Chapel. There’s one photo for each member of the Valparaiso University faculty or staff who has died in this past year. The pictures are on display in anticipation of our keeping of All Saints Sunday, this November 6. But besides Valpo and their death dates, they hold Jesus in common. More personally, they hold the mark of the cross of Christ made over them at the time of their baptisms. To these 19, we will add many other names in our prayers of thanksgiving this Sunday. These will be the names of those known to us who have also died this past year and who also bear this same mark of the cross.
It’s good for us to remember these who have gone before us and who are, for the time being, lost to us. It’s good for us, because in the remembering we have the opportunity to recall the blessings that God provided us through them and to them, through the days of their lives – many or few. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the lessons that their lives have for ours, these saints known to us who await the resurrection as we do.
But the remembering that we do isn’t much good to them. Frequently it seems, around funerals I hear others referring to the deceased as “living on in our memory” and while I believe I understand the positive intent of this statement, it usually makes me cringe. Perhaps it’s my own failing, but it seems to me that if the burden of keeping these ones alive among us falls to my memory, then there’s not much hope of it.
Rather, this remembering – this reattaching members to the body of Christ – lies not with me or you but with God. And God’s memory is tied up in that ultimate mnemonic, the indelible cross of Christ. The cross and those who bear it will not be forgotten by God, for Jesus — the one who bore the cross — is seated at the right hand of God. And all who are marked with the cross are with Jesus even now.
None of this has to do with your memory or mine, thanks be God.
+ Pr. Jim
Nov. 2, 2016
Rev. James A. Wetzstein serves as one of our university pastors at Valparaiso University’s Chapel of the Resurrection.
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- To be known
- We had hoped
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future